The ‘Grand Bargain’ hoax

If the debt ceiling is raised and the government is opened, get ready for more talk of the need for a ‘Grand Bargain’ to cut spending on earned benefits (I refuse to call them by the common but misleading name of entitlements) and other programs that benefit the less well-off in order to rescue the country from the pending disaster caused by runaway debt.

But all that talk is a fraud. [Read more...]

Some debt limit trivia

Thanks to this interminable and absurd government shut down and the possible debt ceiling breach, I have learned more about the functioning of government finances that I ever thought I would.

One of the interesting bits of trivia is that although I have been reporting that the current debt ceiling set on May 19, 2013 is $16.7 trillion, it turns out that the figure is more precise than that. The actual figure, believe it or not, is specified down to the last cent: $16,699,421,095,673.60 (Table III-C). [Read more...]

Trickle up economics

It is extraordinary how in the US, contrary to what you read about the ‘makers and takers’, it is the rich who are subsidized by everyone else

Via reader Norm, I learned about this article that argues that the average American pays $6,000 in subsidies to big business. [Read more...]

Is this any way to run the world’s largest economy?

What the hell is going on in Congress?

I have been (kind of) following the posturing that has been going on over the efforts to pass a continuing resolution bill by October 1. The normal budgetary process of passing the 12 appropriation bills to fund the government for the next fiscal year has long since broken down. In its place we now have the practice of passing continuing resolutions at the last minute that essentially says that we continue doing what was done the previous year. The idea of the budget being also a planning document that determines the priorities for the coming year has gone out the window and we seem to have entered a Groundhog Day world where each year repeats the previous one, at least in budgetary terms. In fact, we should really consider this the new normal, since the chances of Congress ever getting its act together enough to do its most basic function, pass a budget, seem increasingly remote. [Read more...]